FRANKLIN, TENN (AP)- It started out as a typical day for Vivian Meekers. The 47-year-old was getting ready for work when she went outside to warm up her car. Fate interrupted her plans.
“It was right there. On my windshield,” she says, adding “I knew I needed to do something, and fast.” The quick thinking librarian called 9-1-1 and set in motion the wheels of a well-oiled emergency response team.
What follows is a portion of the actual 911 transcript:
911 operator: 9-1-1, what is your emergency?
Meekins: A SNOW FLAKE! It’s a SNOWFLAKE for crying out loud!!!
911- Ma’am, I need to you calm down.
Meekins: It’s right here! I’m looking at it right now!
911-Ma’am, calm down! Does your cell phone have a camera?
Meekins: Uh, yeah….I’m sorry…this is so upsetting…
911- Okay, Ma’am…I need you to SNAP a photo of this. Take a deep breath.
Within moments of that phone call, the emergency weather team headed up by the hyperventilating Leesha Paddon of the channel 6 News Team interupted regularly scheduled programming.
Franklin Kroger Manager, Alvin Whitehead was one of the first to hear. “We are set up on a ‘First Flake Alert’ system so I knew it was coming before the general public was aware of what was going on.”
“People might find it amusing but we take the increased demands for milk and bread very seriously,” Whitehead says. He adds that one year a skirmish by the dairy case ended badly when two housewives duked it out over the last gallon of two percent.
Soon, banners announcing school closures and weather warnings were scrolling across every TV in the Midstate area. Even those that were turned off.
Emily Throttlebottom, 23, was shopping for a new TV in Best Buy when she saw the news. “It was especially frightening seeing all those warnings flash on the ninety-seven inch plasmas, but I knew I needed to get over to Kroger and quickly,” she says. “I had just bought milk and bread yesterday but, I don’t know, like, I just felt compelled.”
She notes the drive to Kroger had an apocalyptic feel to it, “It was like, really freaky, seeing all those, like, helicopters.”
The helicopters are the latest addition to the First Flake Alert forces. Paddon states, “We take snow very, very seriously.”
Thanks to the quick intervention of so many, the citizens of Middle Tennessean can breath easy. Maybe.
Latest updates reveal that the snow warning has been downgraded to a “Very real, frightening possibility of the possibility of more snow.”
Paddon urges viewers to drop everything and continue monitoring the TV for further weather bulletins as they become available. “One can’t be too careful,” she says.